Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


things—things which, when once established, were
established for men of all persuasions, so that there was
common ground for intellectual interchange. At tke
next stage in the story, and almost sometimes apparently
in absence of mind, men came to imagine that final
causes had been disposed of, and Providence eliminated
altogether; and this meant that one had locked oneself
inside the scientific method, so to speak, forgetting the
terms on which one had got into it in the first place.
It was a modern piece of wilfulness which made men
think that technical history and natural science were
qualified,to settle ultimate philosophical questions for
us while they themselves were in an interim stage, as
they still are, nobody knowing what surprises they may
bring at the next turn in the road. When Sir Isaac
Newton established the laws which govern the relation-
ships between the movements of the heavenly bodies,
some men slipped too easily into the view that the entire
universe was a " mechanical" affair—even chemistry and
biology became too mechanistic. Like the mathema-
tician who discovered that God worked as the Great
Mathematician, they ran too quickly from the conclusions
reached in a certain field of science to over-all assertions
concerning the whole order of created things. In
reality the very factor which gave the scientific method
the advantage in efficacy and intensity and Man was the
restriction here described—the restriction of the scope
of physical enquiry itself.

If the historian becomes interested in processes and
laws or finds subtle conformities of pattern in the
movements of event?, this, too, is not to be regarded